A tri-service court of inquiry has been constituted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) to investigate how the helicopter carrying CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier Lakhwinder Singh Lidder and 11 others, crashed in Tamil Nadu's Coonoor on 8 December, leading to the tragic demise of all but one on board.
According to IAF officials, Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, who is the Commander of IAF’s training command and a chopper pilot himself, is heading the inquiry.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari and other senior officers had visited the site of the crash on Thursday, 9 December.
The crash had occurred in a tea estate in between two mountains, located around 100 metre below a village.
'Registered a Case and Commenced Inquiries'
A joint effort was made by the investigators of the IAF and the Tamil Nadu police on Thursday as they flew drones at the site of the Coonoor crash in search for evidence, despite the foggy conditions that were significantly deteriorating visibility levels.
One police officer told The Hindu that though they have "registered a case and commenced inquiries with eyewitnesses and others, the IAF has the expertise to go into the technical aspects like aircraft forensics. They have the experience in probing in the past."
Black Box Recovered From Crash Site
The crashed helicopter's 'black box,' which consists of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR, a device that records the audio communications in the flight deck) and the flight data recorder (FDR, which saves the history of the flight) was also recovered on Thursday during the searches conducted at the crash site.
The main purpose of both boxes (orange in colour) is to aid the investigation after an aerial vehicle mysteriously crashes.
An examination into the recovered black box is soon expected to provide insights into the tragedy.
(With inputs from The Hindu.)